The Prairies are known for many things, but as some may say, our commitment to the arts has not always been one of them. Of course, in more recent years the province has really set its sights on creating a more colourful future – one where oil paintings are just as recognizably Albertan as oil and gas. This was made incredibly clear this morning when the Glenbow Museum in Calgary revealed some incredible news that will completely change the way people learn and inspire one another in and around the city.

As we reported in August of 2021, the nostalgic hub that many of us explored during field trips and after-school outings disclosed that they would undergo a major renovation – closing for three years to do so.

Photo via Dialog Design / Glenbow Museum

Now, nearly a year after the initial announcement – federal, provincial and municipal officials gathered to share that not only will the museum have a new look when it reopens in 2024, the building that houses the Glenbow will have a new name and will be accessible to ALL.

Under the new JR Shaw Centre for Arts and Culture umbrella, the Glenbow Museum in Calgary will soon be the first major museum in Canada to offer FREE admission forever thanks to a generous donation of $35 million from the Shaw Family, in memory of the late JR Shaw, who famously founded Shaw Communications.

Photo via Curiocity Group

“JR was a humble man, who loved his family, his city, his province and this country,” his daughter, Julie Shaw said, “he always made point of supporting the causes and the people in the communities that were so good to him.”

“Our announcement today is just another example of the community spirit he instilled in all of us.”

This means that no matter your financial situation, you, your kids, family members and friends will be able to take in all that the museum has to offer without having to pull out your wallet – much like those who visit other well-established facilities like the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.

Photo via Dialog Design / Glenbow Museum
Photo via Dialog Design / Glenbow Museum

“What a great day for Alberta. This a historic moment in Alberta Culture,” Premier Jason Kenney said. “This is a huge day for Calgary, and i can’t underscore how grateful I am as premier to the Shaw family’s enormous gift to realize this exciting vision of Glenbow Reimagined.”

Interested in taking some art? As we mentioned the museum will reopen in two years’ time, with new features, a brand new interior – designed by Calgary company DIALOG, and a familiar collection that is expected to grow over the next few years – however, you can check out their temporary exhibit this March at the Edison.

For more information, you can visit their website here. Get excited Calgary, and enjoy!